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News/Business. Jim Lehrer, Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff. (2010) New. (CC) (Stereo)

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Iran 8, Pentagon 8, Washington 7, U.n. 6, Tennessee 6, U.s. 5, Us 5, Susan Collins 5, Ray Lahood 4, Judy 4, Afghanistan 4, John Mccain 4, Jim 4, Mullen 3, David Chalian 3, New York 3, Maine 3, Nato 3, Arkansas 2, Bill Allison 2,
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  WETA    PBS News Hour    News/Business. Jim Lehrer, Gwen Ifill,  
   Judy Woodruff.  (2010) New. (CC) (Stereo)  

    September 21, 2010
    7:00 - 7:59pm EDT  

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aptioning sponsored by acneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. senate republicans blocked a bill lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the military. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight, "newshour" political editor david chalian and "time" magazine reporter mark thompson dissect today's vote and look at what's next for the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. >> lehrer: then, judy woodruff talks to transportation secretary ray lahood about his drive to end distracted driving. >> ifill: john tulenko of learning matters reports on tennessee's plan to reward teachers when students do well. >> we need to move to a system that says if you work harder, if you do better, if you try to improve your craft and your students perform better, you get paid more. >> lehrer: we have an election season look at campaign cash-- who's giving, and why. >> ifill: margaret warner
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examines the impact international sanctions are having on iranians. >> they're having a dramatic impact. i think that the u.n. security council resolution was underestimated. it was underestimated by iran and it was undersfimented by lots of people in the international community. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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>> lehrer: today's vote in the u.s. senate means the ban on gays in the military will stand, at least for now. opponents of the ban fell four votes short today in their bid to break a filibuster. >> the vote was about whether to begin debating a military budget bill. it includeded language calling for repeal of don't ask don't tell. but the republican filibuster held and the measure stayed stalled at a vote of 56-43. >> the motion is not agreed to. >> lehrer: 60 votes were needed. it came down to a handful of senators including maine republican susan collins. she backs repeal of the 17-year-old ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, but she opposed a limit on amendments. >> i think we should welcome the service of these individuals who are willing and capable of serving their country. but i cannot vote to proceed
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to this bill under a situation that is going to shut down the debate and preclude republican amendments. that too is not fair. >> lehrer: it was clear that most republicans opposed repeal of don't ask don't tell on its face. they included james inhoff of oklahoma. >> it's a political mistake, a dumb thing to do to try to use the defense authorization bill in times of war to advance a liberal agenda. what is that? to have open gays serving in the military. >> lehrer: supporters of repeal argued the bill's language would authorize it only after a pentagon survey of troops and after the president certifies morale would not be affected. connecticut independent democrat joseph lieberman. >> that provision does not go into effect until 60 days after the president of the united states, the secretary of defense, and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff
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all certify in writing that repeal is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effective, unit cohesion and recruiting, and retention of the armed forces. >> lehrer: the president, back in his state of the union address, made clear he wants repeal. >> this year i will work with congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. >> lehrer: as for the public a "washington post"/abc news poll last february found majorities of americans and republicans now support letting gays serve openly in the military. and public pressure has been brought to bear in many forms including monday's rally by pop singer lady gaga in senator collins' home state. >> i thought equality was non-negotiable. >> reporter: republican senator john mccain answered
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today that it's politics that driving democrats. >> this is all about elections not about the welfare... the well being and the morale and the battle effectiveness of the men and women who are laying it on the line in iraq and afghanistan today. >> reporter: the four armed services chiefs opposed the senate move and the incoming commandant of the marine corps, general james amos agreed with him at his confirmation hearing today. mccain recited part of the general's prepared remarks. >> primary concern with proposed repeal is the potential disruption, the cohesion that may be caused by significant change during a period of extended combat operations. is that an accurate quote from your statement, general? >> yes, sir, that sounds accurate. >> lehrer: but the chairman of the armed services committee democrat carl levin pointed out that view is not shared by the general superiors.
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>> admiral mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff in front of our committee back in february, said the following:. >> no matter how i look at this issue, i cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place on a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. >> he reached a conclusion-- so did secretary gates-- reached a conclusion, this policy must change. because an election was coming up? secretary gates, a republican, decides this policy must change because there's an election coming up? of course not. >> lehrer: the issue will now have to wait until at least after election. the military's review of the effects of repeal is due in december. >> lehrer: and we go to
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"newshour" political editor david chalian and mark thompson, deputy bureau chief and pentagon correspondent for "time" magazine. david, lay out the politics of what happened today in the senate and why. >> i know you'll be shocked to find out that there was actually politics going on. >> lehrer: john mccain was right? >> there were politics played. you heard the president's state of the union earlier this year. this was a promise he made it will get done this year. the democrats have a sing hare mission in this election season and that is to drive up enthusiasm and excitement among their base. the majority leader in the senate wanted this vote earlier this year but he wanted it before the election. part of that is to excite the base. the problem was this was a huge setback, jim. this really blew up in the democrats' face to some degree by not get to go that 60-vote threshold that they needed to accomplish exactly that political goal. >> lehrer: what is the republican counter-stake here going on the other side? >> well it's the reverse, right? none of their members wanted to go along with the democrats and perhaps dampen the huge enthusiasm that we see on their side of the aisle right now out there in the
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electorate. also not want to go give the democrats any kind of victory prior to the election. but if you listen to susan collins and john mccain in that piece there, they provide the path here to harry reid in terms of bringing this up again in the future, right? they laid out the arguments that need to be set aside. he has to allow for more amendments. my guess is probably if this does come up in a lame-duck session after the election that he will allow for more amendments. john mccain said we need this review first. my guess is this will not come up again until after december 1 when that review from the pentagon comes over to the white house for the president to certify. >> lehrer: why was susan collins so critical to this? >> she voted in may in committee along with the democrats so she voted to include the repeal of don't ask don't tell into the bill. it was a vote they were counting on. listen, you know the math in the senate. they have 59 votes. to get to 60 they needed at least one republican. since susan collins had already voted with them, they figured she would be that 60th vote for them.
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that's why she played such a key role. but she said she blamed it on the process, right? she wanted moreallys. she wasn't there for them today. but they're not giving up on her. as you know, the democrats have been going to susan collins and olympia snow on some of the toughest votes for the last 18 months. the stimulus bill, the financial regulatory reform bill. i think the senators from maine who are well aware of what's going on inside their party and this sort of ideological purity test that's been going on inside the republican party. they're fearful about that in the future. there are only so many times that the white house can dip into the well that we need the two senators from maine. they can't go with them politically every time. >> lehrer: mark, to what's happening inside the pentagon on this issue. now the study that was ordered by secretary gates and admiral mullen, where does it stand at this moment? >> they're well underway, as david said. they've got to get it to the white house by december 1. they've surveyed something like 400,000 service people.
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150,000 of their family members. how are you going to feel if openly gay men and women can serve in uniform? what are we going to do about insurance policies, public displays of affection? uniforms? all sorts of, you know, entangling alliances that come about with such a big change in policy. the problem today, i think, was that the cart was put before the horse. senator after senator who might have been counted on to come over to the democrat's side wouldn't simply because the pentagon review has not yet been done and won't be done for another two months. all four of the service chiefs wanted to wait until that was done before the pentagon... before the senate voted as did secretary gates. >> lehrer: the general amos, the marine general who is to be commandant, was his opposition based on the fact that the study wasn't over or was it based on the idea of it? >> i think it was mostly based on the idea that he feared that the wars, that changing
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the law in the middle of the wars would be what he called a distraction. let's face facts here. the service is most concerned with this policy change are the army and the marines because those are the folks who are on the ground in the mud. the air force and the navy not such a big issue. but general amos is basically carrying the same water that general conway the current commandant of the marine corps was carrying. he's been the most outspoken and has even said maybe we'll have to have separate quarters for gay troops as well as straight troops which most people don't think will happen. >> lehrer: mark, are any of the results of the survey thus far leaked out in any way whatsoever? >> no, but you have leaders like admiral mullen saying we hear about these concerns but anecdotally they say we're not hearing them. when we go out to bases and posts around the country and around the world, they basically support what we're trying to do. remember, the military is overwhelmingly young. this is a generational change.
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the younger people you talk to, the less of an issue it is. >> lehrer: is that true with the population generally in the polls, david? >> right. you referenced that "washington post" poll. it is one of those issues, jim, we've seen a real movement on over time. where an overwhelming majority is supportive of the day of gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. even a majority of republicans have come to that point of view. we've really see the electorate move on this largely in to that point about being a generational issue as younger voters are coming into the electorate. they have less and less concern about it. >> lehrer: is there any doubt within the folks at the pentagon that because the secretary of defense and because the chairman of the joint chiefs says we're going to change the policy, yes, we're going to do this survey but the policy is going to change. >> the pentagon has been very explicit on that point, jim. they have said we are studying how to deal with a change in the law. we are not charged with,
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should we change it? that's not what they're studying. they're only studying how it should be implemented if it changes. >> lehrer: is there any doubt, david, that if this pentagon study comes back with something at least that indicates that at least the leaders of the pentagon, based on the study, that the impact will not be that negative, that enough senators can get this done? >> i think that would go a long way certainly talking to several members in the gay rights community that have been working on this issue. they believe that's their best hope now to sort of remove that issue, get this study there. if it in their favor they feel they could rally support. jim, i want to tell you that the senate landscape changes on november 2 not in january because there are three special elections, colorado, illinois and delaware key senate races. those senators will be seated immediately and would vote in this lame duck session. so you will see a lot of attention now on those states as well from this community that the white house was trying to energize. today i think a piece of their
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disaffected base became that much more disaffected today. >> lehrer: david, mark, thank you both very much. >> ifill: still to come on the newshour, transportation secretary lahood on distracted driving; linking teachers' pay to students' performance; money matters for the midterms; and the sanctions on iran. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: ten more nato troops were killed today in afghanistan. nine of them died when their blackhawk helicopter went down, and reports said all were americans. the taliban claimed it shot down the helicopter in zabul province, but nato said there were no reports of enemy fire. the federal reserve will leave short-term interest rates at record lows again. but the central bank's leaders said today they are prepared to take additional steps to boost the economy. in a statement, they warned again that growth is likely to be "modest" for the near future.
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it was their last meeting before the november elections. another of the president's top economic advisers is on his way out. white house officials announced today that lawrence summers will step down as chair of the national economic council after the november election. in a statement, president obama said summers helped guide the nation from the depths of recession to renewed growth. he said, "we are on a better path, thanks in no small measure to larry's wise counsel." earlier, white house spokesman robert gibbs dismissed talk that the president is dissatisfied with summers and treasury secretary timothy geithner. >> the president is enormously pleased with the efforts of each of them in what has been... in what have been very trying times. the last two years have been at a remarkable pace, far more hectic than a campaign in which, i think, many of us thought, "boy, is it going to get... could it get any crazier than this?" and, you know, many days around here, the answer is "absolutely." >> sreenivasan: earlier this month, christina romer stepped down as head of the president's council of economic advisers. on wall street today, the dow
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jones industrial average gained more than seven points to close at 10,761. the nasdaq fell six points to close above 2349. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: next, what happens when the person behind the wheel is doing more than just driving. judy woodruff begins with some background. >> woodruff: on almost any street or highway, you can spot them. >> hey, what's up. >> woodruff: drivers talking, texting, doing almost anything except concentrating on the lanes in front of them. conservative estimates say at any given moment about a million people are behind the wheel of a moving vehicle talking on the phone. and of that number, about one in four also text. last year as national attention was drawn to nearly 5,000 related accidents, ray suarez got a sense of just how difficult it can be to multi-task while driving. you should be able to see far enough ahead just by looking
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over the dash, okay. >> suarez: tonya is a professional race car driver and performance driving school instructor, taking 16-year-old maryland high school students through a test course meant to alert them to the dangers of multi-tasking behind the wheel. >> i want you to text welcome to r.f.k. stadium. >> suarez: the students' ability to keep their cars inside the cones is quickly and dramatically diminished by the demands of using a cell phone or what's commonly referred to as distracted driving. afterward, the girls each admitted they had overestimated their driving while texting skills. >> she said to text welcome to the stadium. all i was texting was numbers. i did think i was better before but i guess not. >> woodruff: so it was one year ago u.s. transportation secretary ray lahood convened a summit to push for new laws
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and better enforcement of existing laws. 30 states and the district columbia now ban texting while driving. eight states bar any use of a hand-held phone while behind the wheel. and there is a nationwide ban on texting by truckers and commercial drivers. are secretary lahood convened a second summit today. we caught up with him this afternoon. secretary ray lahood, thank you for talking with us. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: so we read that last year the number of people who died in accidents related to distracted driving actually dropped. if that's the case, how bad is this problem still? >> it's an epidemic, judy. everybody in america owns a cell phone. or a texting device. people think they can use them anywhere, any time. you see people using them anywhere any time. most cases very rudely. but the point is that you can't drive a car safely while
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you have a cell phone or a texting device in your hand. you simply can't because you're take your hands off the wheel for one thing and you're distracted for another thing. our statistics, we believe, are really the tip of the iceberg in terms of the real magnitude of this. >> woodruff: do you think the laws that we cited a minute ago are making any difference? >> i think enforcement is important. first of all you have to have good laws. there's a good law in washington d.c. and there's a good law in my home state of illinois, but enforcement is also very important. today while our distracted driving meeting was going on in washington, the washington d.c. policeality the direction of the chief were actually issuing tickets. they were sitting on a corner watching people, pulling them over, that were on a cell phone or texting. they wrote tickets today. that is the way that we will correct very dangerous behavior. that went on in hartford, connecticut, in syracuse, new york, where we gave grants to each of those cities for
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police to sit on the corner. they wrote thousands of tickets, and the amount of distracted driving went down dramatically as a result of of their enforcement. >> woodruff: a need for more federal laws? laws at the national level? >> that's right, judy. we really do support congress passing a law. we think a national law can be very helpful the way a national law for our seat belts, click it or ticket, a national law for drunk driving has really given people the motivation to buckle up. and the drunk driving laws obviously have taken a lot of drunk drivers off the road. they think a national law would be good. there are a couple pending in the senate. we hope the congress will pass a national law. >> woodruff: speaking of that, i think you told my colleague ray suarez last year at this same time that you were meeting with senators, you were hoping to get some movement. why hasn't there been movement on this? >> well, i think we can say that for a lot of issues, judy, around here. but i think our distracted
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driving summit today where a senator from minnesota came and i talked personally to senator rockefeller that has a bill that has come out of his ability. son...son... senator schumer from new york has a bill. i know how long it takes to pass a bill. this is a critical moment in our effort at really getting cell phones and black berries and texting devices out of people's hands while they're driving. i think congress recognizes it's a critical moment. i have my fingers crossed that they will pass legislation. >> woodruff: but still have, as we suggested a minute ago, 5,000 people even with the numbers down, 5,000 died last year. >> reporter: 5,500 people died last year as a result of distracted driving, judy, and a half a million were injured too. that's the other huge number. it is a critical moment in this... for this issue. >> woodruff: what does it take to get people's attention
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because i hear a lot of people say, gee, that's exactly right. we shouldn't do it. then people go on doing it. >> i think if people would have tuned in today on c-span or been at our distracted driving summit they would have heard heart-breaking stories of parents who have lost children and children who have lost parents. that's part of it. good public education is a part of it. making sure that teenagers as they go through a driver education course hear about it. there's a very strong advocacy group called focus driven that's traveling the country, promoting this. 30 states since last year or 20-some states since last year have passed legislation. we need to do more. it is a critical time. we just need to keep the drum beat going. that was part of our reason for holding another summit today. >> woodruff: as you mentions, it is young people who are disproportionately affected by this. >> young people think they're invincible, judy. they think nothing can happen to them.
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we know the statistics don't bear that out. we know in order to drive safely you have to keep both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road. young people think they can text and drive. they think they can use a cell phone and drive. you can't do it safely. i'm going to be meeting with some teenagers tomorrow or having a meeting here in washington trying to convince them, buckle up, put that cell phone, that texting device in the glove compartment. that's my message to everybody. but it's really important to teenagers who are just learning to drive. safe driving requires your full attention, eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel. we just have a lot of work to do with our teenagers. we really do. >> woodruff: quickly, mr. secretary is. i note of it also today you took auto companies to task because they are adding certain features and technology, if you will, to cars that in your view contribute to taking people's eyes and attention off the road.
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>> i think any of this technology that is in cars where, you know, people can do face book and download things and other kinds of opportunities, entertainment opportunities are a real distraction. now i've had a lot of discussions with our friends in the automobile industry. i'm going to continue those discussions. we need to make sure that the kind of distractions that take place in the car are minimal in terms of people being able to drive safely. we need the support of the car industry on this. we really do. we're going to keep talking to them until they get the message. >> woodruff: do you include the g.p.s. system, the map that many people increasingly have in their cars as a distraction or is that a good thing? >> i think any distraction is a problem. cell phone use. texting devices are the real distraction. but any of these other things are a distraction too, judy.
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i want to work with the car manufacturers to minimize the number of distractions there are in a car for people who are driving so that when people get in, buckle up and put that cell phone or texting device in the glove compartment and a minimal amount of distractions in the car. >> woodruff: all right. we hear the message loud and clear. transportation secretary ray lahood, thanks very much. >> thank you, judy. >> lehrer: next tonight, paying teachers based on their performance. the obama administration is pushing for such a shift in a number of states, and some school systems are already making their own plans. tonight we look at how that's playing out in tennessee. the reporter is john tulenko of learning matters television, which produces education stories for the "newshour." >> as far as the.... >> reporter: in nashville, tennessee, veteran educators like shirley mason see problems with teaching. >> it's very frustrating. because there are always those that don't do their job as
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effectively or put the time and effort. >> reporter: her colleagues have seen it too. >> i think what's happened is that there needs to be in house cleaning. there are some teachers out this that just don't pull their weight. >> reporter: now tennessee has an idea to fix that. to change teachers, the state wants to change the way they're paid. from a system that rewards degrees held and years on the job to one that bases pay on how much students learn. the thinking is that teachers will work harder knowing their wages depend on how their students perform. and it's caught on in more states than this. >> president barack obama. >> reporter: the reason is president obama's 4.3 billion dollar education initiative. the race to the top. it includes funding for what's called pay-for-performance. >> too many supporters of my party have resisted the idea of rewarding excellence in
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teaching with extra pay. even though we know it can make a difference in the classroom. >> reporter: tennessee thinks it will. it plans to try help the state win a half billion dollar "race to the top" grant. tim web is the state's commissioner of education. >> we need to move to a system that says if you work harder, if you do better, if you try to improve your craft and your students perform better, you get paid more. >> reporter: under web's leadership tennessee recently passed a law that will base 35% of teachers' evaluations and eventually a portion of their pay on test scores. one advantage? schools could attract high- performing teachers with the promise of big rewards. >> we need to be able to incentivize teachers to pay young teachers who otherwise have to wait 5, 10, 15 years to reach the maximum levels of compensation, we need to be able to pay those teachers based on their performance so we can recruit the best and brightest in the sciences and math and all those disciplines
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that are so short. >> reporter: when teacher pay depends on performance, web said, students win. >> you'll start to see improved student outcomes. as a teacher this is a through incentive for my students to do better. the only way my students are going to do better is if i do better. >> reporter: others are skeptical. >> i think they're doing tremendous damage by promoting this. it would terribly corrupt american education. >> reporter: policy analyst richard rothstein worries about the way states like tennessee measure performance by relying heavily a test scores. >> the best way to get higher test scores is to prep for tests, to give a lot of instruction in test preparation and test-taking skills, not in the underlying subject. it's to focus on the children who are closest to the passing point and ignore other children. there are all kinds of ways that we can boost test scores that don't contribute to improved instruction. >> there is that danger. but if our standards and our assessments are what they need to be, we can mitigate a great deal of that risk.
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>> reporter: what can you really do to stop that? all a teacher has to do is go into his or her classroom close the door and start test prep. >> at the end of the day, there's very little that we can do to mitigate it. >> reporter: basing pay on test scores also worries many teachers. who don't trust the tests always measure their peormance accurately. >> we work with children. we work with ten-year-olds that might be having a bad day. their lives are so kay on theic and so disruptive i would hate to think that this day that they take the test might have been the day that mom didn't come home or dad went to jail or, you know, things like that happen all the time. >> reporter: it's not really a measure of you as a teacher? >> no, it's a measure of other things that are going on in their lives. >> reporter: can you measure a teachers' effectiveness and pay them accordingly if you only look at test scores? >> i don't think it's a wise thing to do. just only looking at test scores. i think there needs to be multiple measures. i think you can. i think though that if you
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take all the other pieces into consideration, you get a much more comprehensive view of whether or not the teacher is effective. >> reporter: but basing even part of a teacher's pay on test scores, as tennessee plans to do, could create another problem if teachers are competing for bonuses. >> teachers all help each other. if we have one idea and we think it's good, we share it with the others. i would wonder if there might be more competition between teachers, like, hey, i've got a good idea. i may not share this. i don't know. >> i think it would cause a lot of bad feelings in the workplace. >> there are all these unanswered questions. does it give you qualms? >> yes, it does. a lot of things we're doing right now we're trying to identify what we don't know. if we stay where we are we're going to keep getting what we're getting. it's not acceptable. we have to find the right answers. >> reporter: researchers have also been looking for answers. what evidence is there that putting money on the table will make teachers better? >> in education we have very
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limited evidence of that. >> reporter: new research from matt springer of vanderbilt university could change the debate. springer offered 143 national teachers bonuses of up to $15,000 if they can substantially raise test scores. then he compared those teachers' performance to a group of teachers offered nothing. the ruls of his ground-breaking three-year study were just released. >> the conclusion of the report is that opportunities are earned... to earn a large financial incentive did not increase student performance. it did not change teacher behavior overwhelmingly. >> reporter: in other words, teachers who could earn a bonus and teachers who could not delivered the same results. money made no difference. >> that's not to say that compensation reform and pay for performance can't have a meaningful impact. it just means that we can't just put money out there and
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expect that it's going to change our education system. pay is never going to be the magic bullet. >> here you go. >> reporter: what the finding means for the race to the top remains to be seen. 11 of the 12 winners have already agreed to adopt some form of pay-for-performance. >> ifill: with the fall campaigns in full swing, new reports out today show democratic party organizations have outraised their republicans counterparts this year. their current cash on hand-- $75 million to $55 million-- reflects that. but those numbers only skim the surface. as outside groups begin pouring unlimited amounts of money into critical races, without always disclosing where it comes from. that includes two nonprofit groups headed by former white house aide karl rove, which alone have already raised $32 million. joining us now to explain how the political money landscape
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has changed this year are kenneth gross, an elections law specialist and attorney in private practice in washington, and bill allison, editorial director for the sunlight foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes government transparency. it seems there's more money coming out but less transparency but less knowledge of where it's coming from. am i correct in that? >> you are correct. what is happening in the landscape the way it's changing is we're seeing more 501-c organizations nonprofits, c-4s, issue advocacy groups that are not required to disclose their donors in most cases. and in a number of instances don't even have to disclose their expenditures if it's an issue advocacy type of expenditure. >> ifill: in the past we've seen a lot of groups who pour money into campaigns. they're not necessarily nonprofit group s so they have
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to disclose that. the distinction. >> there are section 527 organizations which are nonprofit. >> ifill: like the veterans for truth that we talked about. >> exactly. move-on.org was a 527. they have to disclose their donors to the i.r.s. and they file independent expenditure reports with the federal election commission but we are seeing a lot of groups that have been taking advantage of different loopholes this the system or holes in the system. one example. just after the pennsylvania primaries were over a group called the emergency committee for israel started running ads against joe sestak because it was more than 60 days away from the election... from the general election. they can run those ads without filing anything with the federal election commission. >> ifill: where is the federal election commission? are they supposed to be bird dogging this? watch dog inning? making sure we know where the money comes from and where it's going? >> the federal election
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commission has made it fairly clear, at least that there is not a majority of votes on the commission to delve deeply into the activity of not for profits particularly these 501-c -4s. they're giving wide to the c-4 activity. one of the keys of the expenditures that we're seeing now is a result of the supreme court decision citizens united is that the expenditures have to be independent expenditures. whether they're independent gets into this issue of whether there's any kind of coordination between these groups and the campaigns. the f.e.c.has struggled mightly to try to even define what coordination is. it's a tough issue for them. >> ifill: ken gross mentioned the citizens united decision. the supreme court basically opened some of the flood gates, some people think. but it wasn't about disclosure. it was about who can give how much money. have we been able to measure the impact of that decision yet? >> the one thing that we can say is that if you compare where we were in the midterms
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in 2006 and the midterms now it's around 57 million i think based on f.e.c.figures that we've so far been able to count in 2010 cycle. this is from january to the present. in 2006 it was around... it was about $20 million less. $37 million. so clearly we're seeing a lot more money being spent on these types of ads. now to the extent we've seen corporations jumping in and actually running ads on their own, that hasn't really happened yet. >> ifill: one example where target corporation put money into a minnesota race. it backfired on them. publicitywise. >> if you think about it though, corporations have always been able to give to some of the types of organizations, the 501-c-4s, the 527 groups and certainly the u.s. chamber of commerce which is one of the biggest players in terms of communications. they're the top spender so far in 2010. you know, none of that money has to be disclosed. that's another one of the 501-c groups, the c-6 actually. >> ifill: flip side. you mentioned the chamber of commerce.
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with a about the unions? we've always heard that's what the republicans say when the finger is pointed at them they say there are the unions who benefit the democrats. >> the unions, after this decision came down, the supreme court decision back in january, actually jumped into the fray a lot quicker than the corporate community. they went in with both feet because one thing that this opinion does allow is for unions to directly make independent expenditures previously that had to go through the security of giving to third pears themselves. they had the flex inlt of spending the money, the money that was on hand and it will be interesting to see the numbers that the final analysis, but the unions might be matching the corporations. >> ifill: that's the question. who is benefiting more from this... these new kinds of fund raising? are the republicans benefiting because they're getting money raised and donated from groups like karl rove's or are the demate karats benefiting because they've always had some institutionalized benefit from the pro democratic labor
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movement? >> i hate to say it. the answer is yes. >> ifill: i said too much. >> both sides are really benefiting. when you get to the labor unions too, they can do express advocacy. they're running in ads in arkansas saying vote against this candidate or vote for this candidate in the arkansas senate race with blanch lincoln and bill halter. we are just seeing an unprecedented flood of corporate money or corporate, i'm sorry labor union money- corporate money and outside money influencing elections. >> ifill: if you're interested in supporting a candidate or just a voter who is not involved in all of this and is trying to decide who do you believe, how can you find out when this situation is so murky right now? >> it's very difficult particularly to determine who is spending what in a timely fashion. when it comes to the candidate, you can look that up on the f.e.c.reports but when it comes to trying to figure out what a 527 is expending you have to go to the i.r.s.
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whether it's a c-4 you may not see it at all. if it's just issue advocacy. this is a very tough for any average si glenn not to mention a member of the press to write about it. >> ifill: the name of your organization. tell me, how is it going? the sunlight foundation. >> not as well as we'd like. one of the things we're tryinged to do, we have a website called sunlight cam dot-com where we're asking people to report on the ads they see so they can at least track it. when you do put an ad on television or the radio there's basic information the station has to track on it. at least you can find out sponsors. one of our big concerns that goes kind of beyond the federal level is that there were 20 some state laws that were wiped out as well by citizens united. a lot of states don't have disclosure mechanisms in place. when you think about judicial elections in some of the state races, you know, there can be a flood of corporate or labor union money with no tracking particularly like the proposition money, ballot
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measures and things like that. this is a big concern. what we've done is create this website where people can report that they're seeing something so a reporter can go back and say i can go to that tv station, radio station and find out what's happening. >> ifill: there was a tea party group that had a press conference here in washington. they had been given a million dollars from an anonymous donor. this would go into campaigns between now and november. that an example of what we're talking about? because there's not just one tea party organization. can several of them just get these kinds of donations and do what they want with it and we don't necessarily know. >> that would be kind of tough. if they're actually putting money directly in campaigns they become a political committee under the election laws. they could possibly do it as an independent expenditure effort. even there, depending on how they do it, they might have to disclose their donors. this is an area where you really need to get into the weeds of the law because generally speaking, if they're going to be trying to turn money right into a campaign,
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they're going to have to disclose that. >> ifill: most people won't be getting very deeply into those weeds. thank you for helping us with that. bill allison, ken gross, thank you. >> thank you. >> lehrer: now, economic sanctions on iran: are they hurting or are they working? margaret warner has our story. >> warner: iran's president ahmadinejad arrived in new york this week for the annual u.n. general assembly meeting reveling in his role as nemesis of the west. as a u.n. poverty summit this morning he asailed capitalism and the current international political and financial order. >> the undemocratic and unjust governance structures are the roots of the problems humanity is confronting today. the demands of liberal capitalism and multi-national corporations have caused the
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suffering of countless women, men and children in so many countries. >> warner: what he didn't mention was that sanctions imposed by that same international order aimed at iran's nuclear program are beginning to bite at home. last june, the u.n. security council adopted its toughest set yet. the u.s.-european union, australia, japan, south korea and norway followed up with specific measures of their own. the number-one target? hog tie iran's access to the global financial system especially major banks. u.s. treasury undersecretary stewart levy heads the department of terrorism and financial intelligence unit. he's been working for six years on designing and enforcing sanctions that hurt. >> they're having a dramatic impact. i think that the u.n. security council resolution was underestimated. it was underestimated by iran. it was underestimated by lots of people in the international community but there are
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provisions in the resolution particularly the financial provisions which say things like you can't provide any financial services, meaning banking, insurance, reinsurance, to iran if you have reason to believe that those services could-- and i underscore could-- assist iran's nuclear missile works. the implementation of those provisions of the security council resolution have been (no audio) of the security council resolution has been very powerful and i think has caught the iranians off guard and has been more powerful than people expected. >> warner: financing is is really at the heart of this. the access to the international financial system. >> it's one of the key pieces of it. and the reason it is is because iran had been abusing the international financial system for years. >> warner: independent news
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accounts confirm european banks have joined the u.s. in freezing assets of targeted iranian companies and individuals and in denying them access to credit or transactions. major international firms including toyota and lloyds of london have announced they're curtailing their business with iran. iran's major national shipping company vital to its oil industry is having difficulty getting insurance. the oil industry is finding it hard to purchase needed equipment. tehran is having trouble importing refined petroleum products like gasoline. all of this comes as iran is struggling with rising unemployment. officially pegged at 14%. and inflation of at least 9%. last week former iranian president rafsanjani a long-time rival of ahmadinejad warned the country's leaders about the mounting burden. he said we have never been face with so many sanctions. i would like to ask you and all the countries's officials
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to take the sanctions seriously and not as a joke. ahmadinejad offered this retort sunday on abc's this week. >> we do take sanctions seriously. but taking it seriously is different from believing that they are effective. these are two different issues. >> warner: that is in fact the question. as the sanctions bite harder, will it persuade the iranian regime to negotiate limits on its suspected nuclear weapons program? so far, the world is still waiting for any evidence of that. just two weeks ago, the u.n.'s nuclear watchdog agency, the i.a.e.a. reported that iran is still denying access to international inspectors and continuing to build up its enriched uranium stock piles. stewart levy says the sanction's name is to change tehran's calculation on that. >> it's to put before the leadership in iran a very clear choice and make that choice even more stark.
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there is a path that leads towards greater isolation and even more consequences of the type that we've been talking about or there's a path towards integration with the international community predicated on adhering to their international obligations. >> warner: former state department official and iran expert of the council on foreign relations thinks washington will be waiting a long time forte ran to choose the second path. >> this is not a normal nation- state making sort of a conventional assessment based upon cost-benefit analysis. this is a country that is an ideological republic. it always has to live up to that ideology. that ideology is one of resistance and defiance of the west. irrespective of the price that comes with that. now the question is, can the economic price get to the level where that country veers away from its ideology? at this point that's not the case. >> warner: what do you say to
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people who say, look, this isn't your typical government that makes a rational calculation of cost and benefits in the national interest. they are actually they like the isolation. they don't want to engage with the west. >> i don't believe that this regime is interested in isolation as you say. they don't want to be north korea. they have had centuries of integration commercially with the outside world. they don't view themselves as a her might nation. we believe that this sort of isolation that they're experiencing now is isolation that they don't welcome. >> warner: he says iran's decision will be made not by its merchant class but by an aging and powerful clerical leadership that wants to hold on to power led by supreme court ali khammenei. >> there's no question about the fact that many within the iranian elite are disturbed by
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the country's isolation and loss of economic opportunities. but those in leadership, the supreme leader, the president and others may not want to pay the ideological cost of economic benefits. >> warner: levy believes the sanctions course is still worth a shot. >> i think anyone trying to predict the way that the leadership will ultimately react has to admit that it's uncertain. no one knows for sure. we do think that the kinds of measures that were... we're imposing are leading some in iran to think, where does this path lead? you know, where does this path lead? we're not able to develop our most important industry. we're not able to create jobs for our young people. we have a disproportionately young population. we have a serious brain drain problem. we can't do business with legitimate financial institutions, legitimate insurance companies around the world.
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where does this path lead. >> warner: that is a larger question for the entire world to consider. >> ifill: finally tonight, honoring the service and sacrifice of a vietnam veteran. air force chief master sergeant richard etchberger was serving on a secret mission in laos in 1968 to direct planes to bomb north vietnam. when his mountaintop base was surrounded and stormed by enemy troops, etchberger held off the assault, called in help, and managed to get three wounded comrades to safety. etchberger was fatally wounded when he boarded the rescue helicopter. his sons learned of their father's bravery years later. today president obama presented them with the medal of honor for their father. here is part of what the president said this afternoon. >> the greatest memorial of all is the spirit that we feel here today.
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the love that inspired him to serve, the love for his country, and the love for his family. the most eloquent expression of that devotion with the words that he wrote himself to a friend back home just months before he gave his life to our nation. "i hate to be away from home," he wrote from that small base. "i believe in the job." he said, "it is the most challenging job i'll ever have in my life." then he added, "i love it." our nation endures because there are patriots like chief master sergeant richard etchberger and our troops who are serving as we speak, who love this nation and defend it. their legacy lives on because their families and fellow citizens preserve it.
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>> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day. senate republicans blocked a bill that included a call for repealing the ban on gays in the military. ten nato troops died in afghanistan, nine of them in a helicopter crash. reports said all nine were americans. and the federal reserve left interest rates at record lows. lawrence summers is stepping down as the president of the national economic council. and to hari sreenivasan in our newsroom, for what's on the newshour online. hari? >> sreenivasan: a reminder: david chalian and our politics team weigh in every day on key stories to watch. you can get our feature the morning line delivered directly to your inbox. tell us what you think is the biggest distraction when you're behind the wheel. take our online survey and find out what others say on the
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rundown blog. plus on the story about teachers in tennessee, find a podcast featuring an interview with the superintendent of schools in nashville about how that system is changing. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. gwen? >> lehrer: and again, to our honor roll of american service personnel killed in the iraq and afghanistan conflicts. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here, in silence, are ten more.
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>> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we'll interview former president bill clinton about politics 2010, and his annual philanthropy summit. i'm gwen ifill. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. - aptioning sponsored by acneil/lehrer productions - aptioned byxú edia access group at wgbh
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ccess.wgbh.org your philosophy?
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[glass shatters] >> [hissing] [both screaming] [bat screeches]
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( growling ) this film contains some of the most intimate views of elephants ever seen. ( trumpets ) but something quite basic lay behind them...